Mindfulness-based yoga intervention for women with depression

Complement Ther Med. 2016 Jun:26:85-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2016.03.003. Epub 2016 Mar 14.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of a 12-week mindfulness-based yoga intervention on depressive symptoms and rumination among depressed women.

Design: Prospective, randomized, controlled 12 week intervention pilot study. Depressive symptoms were assessed at baseline, post-intervention (12 weeks), and one-month follow-up.

Setting: Women with a history of diagnosed depression and currently depressed were randomized to a mindfulness-based yoga condition or a walking control.

Interventions: The mindfulness-based yoga intervention consisted of a home-based yoga asana, pranayama and meditation practice with mindfulness education sessions delivered over the telephone. The walking control condition consisted of home-based walking sessions and health education sessions delivered over the phone.

Main outcome measures: The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Ruminative Responses Scale (RRS).

Results: Both groups reported decreases in depressive symptoms from baseline to post-intervention, f(1,33)=34.83, p<0.001, and from baseline to one-month follow-up, f(1,33)=37.01, p<0.001. After controlling for baseline, there were no significant between group differences on depression scores at post-intervention and the one-month follow-up assessment. The mindfulness-based yoga condition reported significantly lower levels of rumination than the control condition at post-intervention, after controlling for baseline levels of rumination, f(1,31)=6.23, p<0.01.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that mindfulness-based yoga may provide tools to manage ruminative thoughts among women with elevated depressive symptoms. Future studies, with larger samples are needed to address the effect of yoga on depression and further explore the impact on rumination.

Keywords: Depression; Hatha yoga; Mindfulness; NCT02630758.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Yoga*
  • Young Adult